“One motivation to learn a martial art is to have
some response to that beyond accepting victimhood.”
In favor of evolutionary a commentator could say, “O-Sensei didn’t teach that way at Hombu in his old age, nor did his son, who managed during his lifetime and led after his passing. Besides, that old style is arcane, choppy, and borders on being dangerous to all involved. Flow is more compassionate and suitable for the modern world. We aren’t a militaristic society. We aspire to peace. After all, didn’t the Founder say something about love? What’s loving about a poke in the face or breaking somebody’s bones?”
In favor of decadent, I could reply, “O-Sensei didn’t teach much at Hombu. His appearances were more in the way of demonstrations. It is true that ‘Hombu style’ defines aikido today in that the Doshu presides and teaches at Hombu. Hombu awards certificates of rank and sets standards. However in the Founder’s time, as today, Hombu style is not the unique interpretation of the art. At the Founder’s passing, even before, there were teachers who branched off to promote their personal interpretations of what they learned from O-Sensei, or through aikido practice. Saito Sensei, for many reasons, kept a divergent style affiliated with Hombu and the Ueshiba family. Iwama style is generally associated with kihon waza, which can justly be accused of rigidity. That’s its role. Iwama style is not limited to kihon waza. Sufficient knowledge of kihon waza allows progression to ki no nagare, which has a great resemblance to Hombu Style. As for danger, America, despite the mockery of its detractors is not a particularly militaristic society, at least not in the same sense as prewar Japan. It is, however, a randomly dangerous and violent place. One motivation to learn a martial art is to have some response to that beyond accepting victimhood. There are two kinds of peace which can come from conflict. One is internal a serenity of being associated, almost tangentially, with either victory or defeat and possibly associated with the sense of Shiva’s dance. The other peace, of course, is the resolution of whatever conflict was involved. Watch this: “Somebody picked the wrong girl!”
What has surprised me in the cases of my experience is that while all of the usual repertory of nasties have been available, they haven’t actually come into play. They might have, but in the particular cases I would have WANTED to employ them rather than NEEDING to employ them in order to continue. To interpose my wishes in that way would probably have impeded my progress through the situation. That state of engagement might be what Saito Sensei referred to as “Takemusu Aiki.” He regarded that as the goal of study and his system a method of attaining it. There are people who have survived falls from altitude without parachutes. To jump from beginning in a dojo to Takemusu Aiki directly is approximately, my opinion, a likelihood of about the same order of magnitude.